Story: Lisa Harrison
From April 2nd 2007 immigration rules changed, but there are fears that some local residents may not be aware of how difficult it now is to apply for settlement, in many cases requiring months of tuition and planning.
The changes mean that all foreign citizens who wish to live permanently in the UK must either pass the ‘Life in the UK’ test, or take combined ESOL and citizenship classes. Many people may not realise that they can get free support and advice to cope with the changes.
Abdillahi Hassan, who has passed the ‘Life in the UK’ test, told the Messenger, “The test is not easy. I failed it once before, but then I saw an advert in the Messenger for the Pakistan Advice Centre (PAC), so I called and got help. I know there are lots of people in the Somali community who are finding the test difficult. It’s good that we can get the support here.”
Masarat Bibi, who passed the ‘Life in the UK’ test after attending classes at the PAC Multicultural Advice Centre for just six weeks, said, “I’ve been learning English at college for a year and a half. Learning for the test helped me with my English, because Shahnaz, our teacher, explained the meaning of the questions.”
In order to pass the test at least 18 out of 24 questions must be answered correctly. Topics include politics, religion and housing services.
Mr Hassan stated, “It is necessary to get help. You cannot learn for the test by yourself. It is thanks to our teacher that we both passed the test.”
It is incredibly important to seek help early if you are applying for settlement, as most people will need time to prepare for the Life in the UK test. The PAC Multicultural Advice Centre can help with this. Contact them on tel: 261 9130 to find out more.